Translation procedure
Thread poster: Irene Acler

Irene Acler  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:38
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
Aug 9, 2011

Hello everybody!


My thought of today is this:

I'd like to know what your translation procedure is. I mean, after reading the whole text to be translated, do you first search for terminology and only then start to translate, or do you start translating and when you find some problems regarding, for example, terminology, you search on the net/dictionaries/glossaries etc., interrupting in this way the real process of translating?

I don't think there is a better procedure, everybody chooses the one that seems to work better for him/her, but do you think one of the two procedures allows you to translate in a quicker way?

Thank you for your answers!

Irene


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Nelia Fahloun  Identity Verified
France
Local time: 20:38
English to French
+ ...
A combination of both Aug 9, 2011

Hi Irene,

First of all, I always receive the document prior to accepting a job, this way I am pretty sure that it suits my skills and capacities.
I use a combination of both methods as I have a quick read at the whole document and already highlight or write down some key terminology issues, such as terms which are repeated several times. Then, I start the translation per se and look for the terminology when needed. I don't work on very technical texts so my main questions generally relate to fluent phrasing in my target language (French).


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Tomás Cano Binder, BA, CT  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 20:38
Member (2005)
English to Spanish
+ ...
In what situation? Aug 9, 2011

Each job is different and requires a different approach. Available time is also a factor.

Do you mean to say how we deal with our regular jobs during a working week, or perhaps with more special or difficult jobs?


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Irene Acler  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:38
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
regular jobs Aug 9, 2011

Sorry for not specifying it, I meant your regular jobs.

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Nicole Schnell  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 11:38
English to German
+ ...
Regular jobs? Aug 9, 2011

Irene Acler wrote:

Sorry for not specifying it, I meant your regular jobs.




Even if you translate your weekly column for a newspaper, 53 times a year, no article is like the other. There is no such thing as "regular".


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Irene Acler  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:38
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
in general Aug 9, 2011

I was talking about what translation procedure you follow in general, if you follow one more than another.

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Phil Hand  Identity Verified
China
Local time: 02:38
Chinese to English
Jump straight in Aug 9, 2011

Honestly, who doesn't? It's a lovely idea in theory that we would read through the entire document first, then go and do some background reading on the topic, think deeply, and only then begin translating. Who knows, maybe that's the right way for tenured academics translating literature. But I mostly get paid by the word, not the hour, so it's a bit unrealistic. I have a quick look over the text, try to get a feel for the structure, then dive in. If it's a text in a form, idiom or subject area that I'm unfamiliar with, I'll often start out with a really bad, hyper-literal first draft. As the first draft goes on, I get a feel for the terminology and style, and I start to be able to produce reasonable copy. During the second run through, the messy beginning gets corrected and assimilated to the style rest of the piece. I do the second run through with parallel text (I generally don't use CAT, I just translate inline, putting my translated paragraphs above each source paragraph). During or after the second run through, I delete the source text, then I go back for a last English-only edit.

Incidentally, I completely disagree with your characterization of "the real process of translating". Actually, the transfer of sentences from Chinese to English is mostly fairly trivial. The real job - what I regard as the value I add - is in three parts: (1) understanding the source text correctly (in my language pair the majority of bad translators - and there are many - are first and foremost bad readers); (2) the hunting down (or invention!) of correct English terminology; (3) the editing to turn a rough translation into a decent English document.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 12:38
English to Spanish
+ ...
I just start Aug 9, 2011

I just start in the beginning and go all the way through to the end. For someone with little experience it might be a good practice to read through the text first and do needed term research, etc., but I have a lot of experience. In most cases I do not have to do any research at all, but when I do, I solve those problems as soon as I find them before moving on. For instance, just this AM I ran into some medical terminology I need to confirm, so I did it on the spot. I do not leave such things for later, I might forget them.

But I would not characterize that as interrupting the real process of translating any more than getting up to stretch or to go to the bathroom or to eat lunch would be. You need breaks now and then anyway. For me the real process of translating is to do it right the first time, all the time.


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David Wright  Identity Verified
Austria
Local time: 20:38
German to English
+ ...
Slightly differently Aug 9, 2011

I usually start without reading the text through (it's much more exciting that way!) Since I use speceh recognition on a hand held device which is then transcribed by the DNS, I tend to work all the way through a text and guess the words I don't know, putting a mark in the original to remind me.

When I've got the whole thing recorded and transcribed I go through the text carefully, and it's then that I check on terminology I'm unsure about. This has its advantages, firstly because my dictation flow is not interrupted and secondly it is often the case that what looks like a problem word when I first meet it clarifies itself in the course of the text.


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Jenn Mercer  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:38
Member (2009)
French to English
theory vs practice Aug 10, 2011

In theory, I like the idea of reading through and researching all of the difficult terms before starting translation. In practice, this rarely works so well for me. I do at least skim the document to get an idea of possible snarls up the road so I can pay extra attention to them and get a better time estimate. I postpone the detailed research because it is hard to really understand a problem term without studying the context. Once I get stuck, I will do the more thorough research. It takes less time this way as I have a full picture of the rest of the document and I am less nervous about running out of time in the end.

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Irene Acler  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 20:38
Spanish to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
interesting Aug 10, 2011

Thank you all. It's interesting to see how you work when translating.
I asked this question because I heard of translators who first read carefully the text to translate, underlying or writing down particular difficult terms or expressions they are not very confident with, then search for particular terminology, and only after all this process they start to translate the text.

Personally, I have a quick look at the text, to get an overall idea of the topic and terminology, and then start to translate. When I find terms I'm unsure about, I search on the spot.


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